Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company
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Ratings: 9,821 | Reviews: 3,125 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by flannelman808:
4.38/5 rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5
"...PLINY THE ELDER IS A HISTORICAL FIGURE, DON'T MAKE THE BEER INSIDE THIS BOTTLE ONE..."
A Long awaited new vs ever so slightly old Pliny review awaits...
Ok, so I have wrapped up two different batches of Pliny the Elder in paper towels so that they are indistinguishable. One of two bottles is the most recent batch released, (and is the most recently available in Los Angeles) and is likely a bit less than two weeks old. The other bottle is the previous released batch, which is something like twice as old as the first (still not very old, even by IPA standards). I did not commit the specific bottling dates to memory and don't want to remove the blindfolds which make each a mystery, So I will post them once I'm done reviewing both bottles in full.
This review is going to both incorporate a review of Pliny the elder, and the effect of aging over a short period of time. This effect, which may or may not be perceivable to this not so humble reviewers palate. The warnings on bottles, and quote from said bottles at the top of this review, would lead one to believe that Russian River feels something distinctly negative happens over time to this beer. This is true of all IPA's but to what extent and for how long does a beer stay worthy???
---Ok bottle #One (again I have no idea which it is)---
A: let it be known there is light. Pliny is crazy bright and is not unlike petrified amber. The air however isn't trapped, It rises up and releases a pretty nice looking head. The foam is just barely off white and has ok retention. In it's wake it leaves a spiderweb lacing.
S: The nose is of fallen pine needles first and foremost. While it has a fairly pronounced bouquet It's mostly of green and forest floor aromas. I will say as this warms it presents a white grapefruit like perfume in addition.
T: A refreshing quaff... much more citrus is pronounced on the tongue than ones nose would lead them to expect. White grapefruit which reminds me a little bit of Haribo white grapefruit sour candy minus the sour. Green and brown pine lingers on the finish and resonates for some time after the citrus is gone. In the end a touch of subtle sweet malty caramel flavors adds it's hand in this beers complexity and helps balance the more astringently dry nature of this beer.
M: Sticky, Prickly.
O: I don't think I really need to comment here. This is a fantastic beer and to which all other DIPA's are put up against. Finishing with more perceivable dryness than sweetness, yet leaves room for a little bit of sweet balancing malt.
---Blind Bottle # Two---
Ok, with a bit of a palate cleanse its on to Bottle #2 (I've no idea which is which still):
A: So a similar looking beer sits before me. I would dare say however that its just a touch lighter in color (on the yellow side of the spectrum). Other than that it's tit for tat.
S: Once again the pine needle is in the lead. Citrus peel is an a bit of an afterthought as it warms up though it's present. I do feel that this one is less pronounced on the nose and I sense a bit of caramel in the aroma as well which was not noteworthy in the first pour.
T: As the nose aroma would have had me believe The big difference factor I find between the two is the presence of malty sweet flavors. Brown pine needles (not green and brown, just brown and dried) and caramel malty granola sweet flavors are markedly more present. The citrus present in glass one is only a faint afterthought.
M: Smooth with a tickle.
O: All and all this still carries most of the flavor of glass #1 but lacks the PHAP-ZHOU perceived drying quality which is so important in this style. I have to assume at this point all of this is due to the limited aging potential of hops and that this is the older brew. Still bitter overall, I am being very specifically picky, all of this is not to say the older version is totally bad. It is to say that I think it is different in ways which are felt by the drinker, and could easily lead to a misperception as to just how good this stuff can be.
Ok... Am I a total fool????
Bottle one date: 100411 or exactly 12 days old. AMAZING!
Bottle two date: 091611 Exactly 1 month old!!! wow I didn't look at the actual date on the bottle before pouring but it was bottled a month ago today.
I have always been curious as to the breaking points of IPA's. At what point has a beer changed in a good or bad way to the palate of its taster. IPA's are more susceptible than just about anything to father time but I find different beers of style tend to remain "good" for varying amounts of time. Why and which? More to come...
Note: Final number ratings directly relate to the better and most fresh of two (10/04/11) bottles.
Serving type: bottle
10-17-2011 05:11:27 | More by flannelman808
More User Reviews:
Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 9,821 ratings.